Voices’ Blog

CHIP Bill Introduced in Senate: Congress must act quickly!

Posted:  -  By: Ashley Airington

As mentioned in our blog last week, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), known as FAMIS in Virginia, provides health insurance coverage to 123,256 low-income children and 1,146 pregnant women in Virginia. It’s a program that has enjoyed bipartisan support for decades and it’s at risk because federal funding expires on September 30th–that’s just 11 days away!

Last night, Senate Finance Leaders introduced the “Keeping Insurance Dependable and Secure (KIDS) Act” (S.1827). Here is what is included in the bill:

  • Extends funding for CHIP for five years (until 2022).
  • Continues the ACA’s 23-percentage increase in federal matching funds to states for two years (through FY 2019). That year, the increased federal CHIP funding will decline to 11.5% (making the match rate for VA at 76.5%), and will be completely eliminated in 2021, returning Virginia to the traditional level of federal funding (65%) received before the health law was enacted.
  • Maintains the maintenance of effort (MOE) requirement through September 2019, after which it would apply to children in families whose incomes do not exceed 300% of the federal poverty level. In Virginia, CHIP covers uninsured children in families who do not qualify for Medicaid and earn up to 205% of the federal poverty level, or $41,861 annually for a family of three.
  • Financial support for states to conduct outreach and provide community-based enrollment assistance to reach eligible children.
  • Investments in quality initiatives to measure, report, and improve health care for children in Medicaid and CHIP.

We think this bipartisan supported agreement in the Senate is a great deal for kids and Congress should act quickly to pass legislation before funding expires on September 30th. With only 11 days remaining before the deadline, the House has yet to unveil a bill–so we need your help!

Take action today and urge Congress to extend long-term funding for CHIP before the September 30th deadline.  

If you have any questions about CHIP or want to share your story, contact Ashley Everette at ashley@vakids.org.

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